The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday it would review health standards for harmful soot that the previous Trump administration had left unaffected.
This is the last federal air and water regulation that the Biden administration will review after the Trump administration rolled back the standards or left them unchanged. The Biden administration will review the December 2020 decision that left the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQS) standards for particulate matter or soot unchanged.
Exposure to soot and fine particles, which can come from coal-fired power stations and industrial factories and vehicle exhaust pipes, has been linked to health problems ranging from asthma to heart attacks.
The EPA said it was reconsidering the decision on the NAAQS “because scientific evidence and available technical information indicates that current standards may not be adequate to protect public health and welfare, as required. the Clean Air Act “.
“The most vulnerable among us are the most exposed to particles, and that is why it is so important that we take a close look at these standards which have not been updated for nine years,” said the administrator of EPA, Michael Regan.
Fine particles are one of the most common ambient air pollutants. Recent studies have shown that the pollutant, known as PM 2.5, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities.
The agency is required to review the NAAQS, which sets limits on soot concentrations from coal-fired power plants and industrial plants and vehicle exhaust pipes every five years, and has tended to tighten them regularly. after a scientific examination.
Environmental groups have said the EPA’s decision to review the standard will return the agency to a process guided by science advice.
“The Trump administration undermined the NAAQS review process and finalized a rule that retained existing standards, ignored the latest scientific evidence questioning the adequacy of those standards, and failed to adequately protect public health “said Hayden Hashimoto, lawyer for the Clean Air Task Force.
(Report by Valerie Volcovici and Eric Beech in Washington Editing by Aurora Ellis and
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